RANCHO CUCAMONGA — Larry Darnell Shyne never planned for Kimberly Michelle Sum to be shot and killed.
Shyne, Sum’s former pimp, allegedly enlisted his cousin and his cousin’s gang associate to rob Sum at her Ontario hotel room.
Shyne wanted Sum’s laptop, and he told his cousin, Donald Ray Walker, and the associate, Matthew James McClane, to keep any cash and valuables.
But when Walker and McClane visited Sum on Dec. 19, 2008 at the Hotel Indigo under the guise of a “date,” the call girl didn’t have a laptop or valuables in her room.
And Sum, 41, kept screaming during the robbery. As her screams became louder, McClane allegedly took out a pistol and shot Sum in the chest, killing her.
That was the narrative a prosecutor told jurors today in her opening statement in West Valley Superior Court, where Shyne and McClane’s murder trial opened for their alleged roles Sum’s slaying.
“She was a mother,” Youngberg said of Sum. “She was a friend to many.”
After Deputy District Attorney Carolyn Youngberg spoke to jurors, a defense attorney gave an opening statement — urging jurors to keep an open mind — and three witnesses testified. Testimony is scheduled to resume Tuesday morning.
Walker, 23, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in 2009 as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors that carries a 17-year prison sentence.
As part of his agreement, he must testify during Shyne and McClane’s trial.
Shyne, 31, of Pomona, was a pimp, and at one time Sum was one of the call girls that worked for him, Youngberg told the jury of 10 women and two men.
According to Youngberg, Shyne was known for being violent with his prostitutes, and during a previous dispute with Sum he assaulted and threatened her.
Because of his past association with Sum, Shyne knew her room number at the Hotel Indigo, a newly opened hotel north of the 10 Freeway and west of Haven Avenue where Sum had lived for about six months, Youngberg said.
With her room number in hand, Shyne contacted Walker, who is a member of a Los Angeles gang, and asked him to enlist an associate to carry out the robbery.
“Kimberly Sum would be here today if Mr. Shyne did not set this up,” Youngberg told jurors.
During the investigation into Sum’s killing, police released footage from hotel security cameras that captured images of Walker and McClane. Tips from the public led detectives to both men, who were arrested March 12, 2009.
After his arrest, Walker at first denied any involvement in Sum’s death. But during an interview with detectives, he eventually revealed each defendant’s alleged role in Sum’s death.
He told police that Shyne’s plan called for Sum to be robbed, and assaulted only if she resisted. He said he was surprised and angry when McClane, 28, took out a pistol and shot Sum.
McClane’s attorney, Gary Ablard, called Walker’s comments to police into question during his opening statement, and said, “Cross-examination is a big part of the defense.”
“We are going to test that evidence, and hopefully the truth will come out of that,” Ablard said.
Ablard also noted that Youngberg’s comments were not evidence.
“I only ask that as we go through this trial you keep an open mind,” Ablard said.
Shyne’s defense attorney, David Call, did not give an opening statement today, but reserved his right to give a statement after the prosecution’s portion of the trial is over.
The prosecution’s first witness was a former employee at the hotel who discovered Sum’s body the day after the shooting when she checked her room after receiving two “mystery calls” at the front desk asking about Sum’s condition.
Shyne is a former football player who played wide receiver for Mt. San Antonio College, and was a member of the team that won the state championship in 1997.
Shyne went on to play for Purdue University and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.